What is emergency dental care? How does emergency dentistry work?
Emergency dental care refers to the dental services necessary when you experience a dental emergency, such as a knocked-out tooth, dental abscess, severe and sudden toothaches, severely fractured teeth, etc. Emergency dental care is necessary whenever you have a dental problem that can’t wait for treatment, not even a few days. Several dental problems need urgent attention, including deep cavities that necessitate root canals, but dental emergencies are situations that need immediate attention, i.e., within the next few minutes or hours. If you don’t get immediate emergency dental care, the situation will worsen and cause further complications.
The clearest example of a situation necessitating emergency dental care is a knocked-out tooth. Your tooth might get knocked out due to sporting injuries, dental trauma, sudden falls, or accidents. If your tooth is knocked out of the socket without being severely damaged, it can be reattached to your jaws, but only if you act fast. You have to preserve the knocked-out tooth in an airtight container and take it to an emergency dentist open near your location as soon as possible. The chances of reattaching the tooth severely decrease after an hour, so that’s a dental emergency.
Emergency dental care services usually include simple things like reattaching knocked-out teeth, stopping bleeding, treating infections, sealing dental fractures, and providing pain medications. The primary goal of emergency dental care isn’t to treat all your underlying dental problems but to ensure you’re comfortable and safe for the moment, and then you can address all the underlying issues during regular dental clinic hours. It’s also worth noting that emergency dental care is only available with special appointments when you actually have a dental emergency. As such, whenever you’re experiencing a dental emergency, you should call your dentist to discuss the next steps.
Should I go to a hospital emergency room for emergency dental care?
People often assume that they should go to a hospital emergency room for emergency dental care. But that’s inadvisable. Hospital emergency rooms don’t have dentists in attendance, and their general physicians aren’t trained to handle dental emergencies. As such, hospital emergency rooms can only offer pain medications and antibiotics to relieve your pain and handle possible infections. They can’t reattach a tooth, provide surgical treatments, or address the underlying dental problems. In most cases, hospital emergency rooms handle the bleeding and surface problems and refer you to another dental clinic. If you go to a dental clinic via a detour through a hospital emergency room, you might be significantly delayed for optimal treatment.
I have a dental emergency. What should I do?
If you have a dental emergency, you must remain calm and take a deep breath. People often worsen their dental emergency situation when they panic. Once you’re calm, you should carefully assess the problem, call your emergency dentist — or have someone else do it. Describe the dental situation to your dentist and allow them to determine if you truly have a dental emergency. If you don’t actually have a dental emergency, the dentist might provide some tips on how you can handle the issue and ask you to schedule an appointment during regular office hours. However, if you’re truly experiencing a dental emergency, the dentist will provide advice on handling the dental emergency and ask you to have someone drive you to their clinic immediately.
You must always have a dental first aid kit containing your dentist’s number, antiseptic gauze, pain medications, and an airtight container. If you have a knocked-out tooth, you must rinse the tooth gently and place it in the airtight container with some warm salt water, saliva, or milk. Once the tooth is secured, you must have someone drive you to the emergency dentist. If you have a soft tissue injury in your gums, tongue, lips, or cheeks, you must rinse the region and go to the emergency dentist. If you have severe toothaches, you can take some pain medications to provide temporary relief and then go to the emergency dentist. How you handle the emergency depends on your situation — you must defer to your emergency dentist’s advice at all times.
How can I reduce my risk of a dental emergency?
You can take several measures to maintain optimal oral health and minimize the risk of a dental emergency. The following are some tips on reducing the risk of a dental emergency.
- Oral Hygiene: You must brush and floss regularly, and at least twice a day. You should also rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash to minimize bacterial accumulation in your mouth.
- Dental Cleaning: You must go for teeth cleaning at least once every six months, though people with exceptional oral health can go once a year. The dentist removes all the accumulated plaque and tartar to minimize the risk of gum disease.
- Dental Check-ups: You must go for dental check-ups at least once or twice a year. The dentist carefully examines your teeth to determine if you have optimal oral health and looks for signs and symptoms of dental problems, such as gum disease, cavities, etc.
- Sealants: You can get dental sealants on the grooves of your teeth to minimize bacterial accumulation and cavities in those vulnerable spots.
- Mouthguards: If you participate in sports, you can wear custom mouthguards to protect your teeth in case of dental trauma. Mouthguards can also be used if you have bruxism, i.e., teeth grinding.
- Diet: You should eat a balanced meal and avoid sugary drinks and desserts because they increase the risk of cavities.
Where do I get emergency dental care services near me?
Studio Smiles NYC is widely considered one of the best emergency dental clinics for emergency dental services in New York. Our dental clinic is located at 41 Park Ave, Suite 1C, and 405 Lexington Ave, making it highly accessible to patients in New York. For more information, please book an appointment today.